When thinking of “infrastructure” — roads, rail, electricity grid, freight containers, etc — economists don’t realise that all these items and activities are actually superstructures. They are the obvious signs of a great deal else that is going on underneath. By this is meant molecules and atoms and, underneath them, and most importantly of them all, the movement of electrons.
Electrons, during their lowliest, basic movements — moving from one atom to another — govern every larger physical action that will ensue. In doing so, electrons always travel along the shortest possible routes between two atoms that are available to them. This is called the Principle of Least Effort. Why this must happen is something that even geniuses such as Richard Feynman in the last century said was too mysterious to explain. It is a fact of Nature.
Leaping upward to using “infrastructure” as we usually use the term, what economists have yet to learn is that every single mechanical action in the world-wide manufacturing and trading system is actually striving on its own account to become more efficient and will settle into a steady-state sooner or later. In our present state of doldrums, are we approaching that point already?